Week Log: Seven And Fading

Beantown Sports Observer gripes that after an early summer flood of interesting topics, there is zilch gong on now unless you count baseball. Fortunately, Week Log does count baseball so let’s get started there, where the count is presently at seven games back – eight in the lost column, five in the Wild Card.

Red Sox

With MLB-leading run production, yet middle-of-the-pack starters and the third worst bullpen in the A.L., SawxBlog calls 2010 the Year of the Strange. But as the deficit in the standings grows, Peter’s Red Sox Forever is just calling it a season.

Red Sox Monster stops short of calling Daisuke Matsuzaka’s gem on Monday his best start ever, but agrees it was just what the Sox needed to open a 10-game West Coast swing. The Soxaholix sees a favorable pattern developing when Dice-K walks two or fewah battahs.

When the Sox reward Surviving Grady‘s time and emotional investment with a spirit-deflating loss as they did on Tuesday night, everyone pays. Nor is there any joy at The Joy Of Sox after Terry Francona left Jonathan Papelbon in the pen during the extra innings loss. Tim Wakefield blew a four-run lead earlier that night, as The Bottom Line likens his knuckler to a box of chocolates. With Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett back, The Mighty Quinn Media Machine speculates it could have been Wake’s last start ever. I’m Just Sayin’ wonders if the returning Buchholz and Beckett are enough to make the Sox contenders again this year. Full Count has Buchholz off his game yesterday, struggling in each of his four-plus innings. Tony Lee has the oft-forgotten Jed Lowrie’s return the brightest spot in yesterday’s rubber game loss in Oakland.

Boston Dirt Dogs has Theo & The Trio’s administration denying they’re doing things on the cheap, while Touching All The Bases recalls the baseball vagabonds brought in during the Dan Duquette administration. And the baseball team might be fading, but Keep Your Sox On has the Remy/Orsillo broadcast tandem GQ‘s pick as best in the American League.

Patriots

All this speculation concerning a potential Tom Brady holdout makes Michael Hurley wonder if the NFL offseason has run its course. Extra Points has Brady’s name conspicuously absent from SI’s Fortunate 50 list that places Vince Wilfork at No. 38.

See how far down the list the Pats sit on the training camp edition of It Is What It Is‘s Power Rankings. NE Patriots Draft annoints the Packers and Patriots as bride and groom in their 3rd annual Ridiculous NFL Preview. Pats Pulpit explains why Randy Moss fared well in their preseason look at Most Valuable Patriot candidates.

Tom E. Curran sees the secondary as a serious tender spot in the Pats’ hopes of returning to the NFL’s elite. Patriots Daily looks at the shake-up among the big fatties on the defensive line.

On ESPN Boston’s New England Patriots blog, Mike Reiss explains how the Pats roster is 6th-oldest in the NFL despite including 24 draft picks from the last two years. The Rap Sheet has first-round pick CB Devin McCourty’s agent confident you can throw his client into the youth movement come the start of training camp. And Boston Sports Then And Now looks back on The Decision I, when Bill Belichick dissed the NYJ in LeBronian fashion.

Odds & Sods

Our weekly perusal of the Boston sports blogging community starts with Mass Hysteria, which is concerned about nicknames for a C’s team that could sport five guys over the age of 33. The Crowe’s Nest serves up another reason to root against the Miami Heat next season.

Jessica Isner has all the shootout action from last night’s Football at Fenway club soccer match. Better Red Than Dead can’t imagine how this event can be viewed as anything but a success, while Toeing The Rubber wonders what genius decided to screw with the Fenway Park field by scheduling non-baseball events in mid-season. Fenway Pastoral thinks this excessive whoring out of Fenway Park speaks to a new organizational arrogance on Yawkey Way.

ESPN Boston’s New England Revolution blog has Steve Ralston missing out on a swansong game with the Revs before retiring on Tuesday. Masshole Sports says Tim McCarver’s stand against George Steinbrenner is better late than never.

You can have your HBO, but nothing shall come between Boston Sports Blog and their HD sports programming. And finally, a shout out to SoxSpace News for getting some quality face time on NESN.

The blog ranks are a little light with summer vacations, and that’s where I’ll be for the next two weeks. Week Log won’t be back again until August 12, when we welcome all the new faces that Theo acquires between now and the trading deadline next week. See you then.

Week Log: Second Half Kick-Off Edition

It’s the dog days all right. NHL and NBA hot stoves have cooled; NFL OTAs are done and training camp awaits; and the three-day MLB All-Star break has just concluded. We stand ready to roll into the official start of the second half of the Red Sox season, so let’s kick it off there.

Red Sox

At 51-37 at the break, Boston Blood Sox calls it a laudable first half for the Sox, but the fourth-best record in all of baseball may still leave them out in the cold come October. Touching All The Bases has the best and worst of the first half of a season they think shouldn’t start until May 1. Beantown Sports Observer looks at the castoffs and journeymen who have kept the Sox within striking distance of the A.L. East lead. Jessica Isner has Erin Andrews, in particular, looking at one of Boston’s first half surprises.

Red Sox Monster defends MLB’s All-Star Game as the greatest in professional sports. SawxBlog concedes it is head-over-heels the best among all-star games, but finds it a ridiculous determinant of home field advantage in the biggest series of the year. Mass Hysteria would rather watch the All-Star Game than get a pizza with Hanley Ramirez.

Fenway West thinks David Ortiz may have earned his option year after winning the All-Star Home Run Derby Monday night. BoSox Injection says it’s tough not to be happy for Big Papi. Boston Sports Then And Now hopes this win will do for Ortiz what the Three-Point Contest did for Paul Pierce. Peter’s Red Sox Forever has Papi’s baserunning costing the A.L. home field advantage in the World Series.

If you’re looking forward to seeing Clay Buchholz or Victor Martinez right out of the blocks after the All-Star Break, Brownie Points will set you straight. Fenway Nation has Jacoby Ellsbury’s account of his injuries contrasting that of Sox brass. Hit And Run With Dan Roche has Josh Beckett hitting 96 down in Pawtucket, and on schedule to return mid-week next week. Baseball Heavy calls Beckett a good pitcher but a questionable human being.

Red Sox Reality Check takes pleasure in watching Jon Lester evolve into one of the elite pitchers in baseball. Surviving Grady pleads for a return of The Pappet.

Boston Dirt Dogs pays homage to George Steinbrenner, while The Crowe’s Nest reminisces of his only encounter with The Boss. Subway Squawker Lisa is shocked by the outpouring of sympathy and tributes from Yawkey Way. Toeing The Rubber doesn’t think that baseball lost ‘a good one’ so much as ‘a scandalous one’ on Tuesday.

Clubhouse Insider reports that the price hasn’t dropped for Kansas City OF David DeJesus. Fire Brand of the American League takes us behind the plate, as they examine the catcher’s craft of calling a game.

Patriots

Just another couple of weeks until camp! Pats Pulpit thinks the Pats went a long way in rebuilding their locker room by drafting character players in April. NE Patriots Draft has the NFL with a lot of work to do in signing first- and second-round picks, and the Pats are no exception as talks with first-rounder CB Devin McCourty are progressing slowly.

It Is What It Is has Terrell Owens willing to take less money and a lesser role to come to the Patriots. Having T.O. alongside Randy Moss is enough to give Masshole Sports a wet dream. Pats Fans examines the curious OTA of second-rounder TE Rob Gronkowski, whom some pundits bill as the complete player. Extra Points thinks Sebastian Vollmer is the biggest part of the Pats’ future on the offensive line. Patriots Daily has Tom Brady a polarizing figure in the ever-present war between optimists and pessimists.

Odds & Sods
. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston blogging world

Steinbrenner was the second loss in the Yankees family this week. And Another Thing . . . remembers PA announcer Bob Sheppard, who evoked a semi-religious experience with his glorious tones. Although the Voice of God will never echo in Yankee Stadium again, its memories induce shivers and goosebumps through Greg Cavanaugh.

Green Street has new C’s center Jermaine O’Neal subordinating play time for the chance to win a championship. We’re Just Saying looks at the spectacle that was ‘The Decision.’

Last weekend’s 2-0 win over the L.A. Galaxy did wonders to bail out New Enlgand Revolution‘s mid-season progress report on five preseason predictions.

The Iroquois may have gifted lacrosse to the world. but Lacrosse Examiner has them being denied reentry into the U.S. if they play in the World Lacrosse Championships under their Iroquois passports.

With football around the corner, I’d love to hear about some good Pats blogs you like but never see on Week Log. Some of our old favorites won’t be back this season, so fresh blood is needed. Drop me a line. As always, I’m at [email protected]

Week Log: A Few Good Men . . . Still Standing

Welcome to July. This weekend marks the midpoint of the MLB season, so it’s time do something we haven’t done all year. That’s right: we’re leading with the Red Sox.

Red Sox

July 1 is marked on my calendar as the sixth anniversary of the night Jeter dove into the stands in the Bronx while Nomar, enjoying a night of rest, watched him from the safety of the Sox dugout. It’s also one day after Dustin Pedroia took grounders on his knees because he can’t stand on a fractured foot, while J.D. Drew watched call-ups do his job because he coudn’t play with a stiff neck. Surviving Grady wants the kind of guy like Pedroia on his team and wonders if that work ethic will ever rub off on Drew.

Boston Dirt Dogs has the Sox weathering this storm of injuries. And Another Thing . . . sees an exquisite fan experience in cheering for an injury-plagued team like these Sox. Jerry Thornton says to hell with the injuries because he’s going to ride some pure, undiluted optimism all the way to an October rolling rally. Fire Brand Of The American League looks back at some of the biggest surprise replacement players in Sox history.

On the field, the Sox had to settle for a split against the reeling Rays this week. Hit And Run has Tuesday’s starter John Lackey sticking to the script for victory in the face of all the recent injury woes. Fenway West has Tuesday’s game getting squirmy with some bad relief appearances. Over The Monster loved Dice-K’s Houdini act last night, but put the blame for this loss squarely on the arm of Manny Delcarmen. The Bottom Line says that if MDC hits the DL, Theo will be called upon for some desperate measures. Fenway Fruitgirl finds a magical place where even Delcarmen can throw strikes.

Red Sox Monster has the Sox with a serious, serious problem in their bullpen. Boston Sports Blog rips the theory that the Sox are winning in spite of their outfield.

BoSox Injection adds their two cents to the All-Star voting discussion by adding in two Sox as starting positional players. Soxspace News calls All-Star voting a joke system and lobbies for a remedy to the injustice of Adrian Beltre sitting at fourth on voting among A.L. third basemen.

Celtics

Lots of personnel activity these days, starting at the top. Doc Rivers’ decision to return for the final year of his contract is one less unanswered question for Beantown Sports Observer this offseason. It’s also one less worry for Gino’s Jungle, who would not like any other coach at the forefront of the C’s. I’m Just Sayin’ thinks Doc’s return makes it likely the C’s will be keeping Paul Pierce around.

Pierce, of course, became un unrestricted free agent at the stroke of midnight this morning. Green Street says his opt-out makes Danny Ainge’s life a little more difficult this offseason, while Red’s Army thinks it gives Danny cause for pause . . . and maybe even an opportunity. LOSCY is all for bringing the Big Three back for not one, but two more reunion tours. North Station Sports says C’s fans should be worried about losing Ray Allen.

4Sportboston thinks Ainge did as well as could be expected by drafting Avery Bradley, who was ranked ahead of John Wall only a year ago. Mass Hysteria has second-round pick Luke Harangody filling the need for a tall, goofy white guy now that Brian Scalabrine’s contract is up.

Bruins

Bruins 2010 Draft Watch says Tyler Seguin is more mature and better ready to make the transition to the NHL than his No. 19 namesake Joe Thornton was back in 1997. Two Cents From Beantown thinks we should contain our speculation over what line Seguin will be on until he actually makes the team. Masshole Sports says Beantown hasn’t had a player this hot – errrr, marketable – in a long time.

Stanley Cup of Chowder runs down the B’s selections after Seguin, while The Hockey Blog Adventure is going nuts for the B’s second selection, Jared Knight, a kid who goes to the net. Boston Sports Then And Now calls the Mark Recchi re-signing an impactful choice that will have positive effects on the development of Seguin and the other rookies.

View From 311 berates the Red Sox for not bringing out the real catchers to handle first pitch duties with Seguin and recently-acquired Nathan Horton. John Beattie has GM Peter Chiarelli still open to making a few more trades. Rink Rap thinks trading Marc Savard will help the B’s get faster and stronger up front next season.

Patriots

July means summer taining camps and trips to Gillette with the boys, where security teams with large badges tell us all the places that we can’t access as non-family, non-VIP, non-season-ticket-carrying visitors. Despite 7 of 12 picks still unsigned, It Is What It Is has the Pats right in line with the rest of the NFL when it comes to signing the 2010 draft class. Pats Pulpit says the pieces we’ve been told on the Logan Mankins front aren’t fitting.

Notwithstanding the loss of an All-Pro left guard, PatsFans thinks red zone offense is the one area the Pats improved on the most during this past offseason. Mike Reiss says the Pats have one of the deepest groups in the NFL at safety, but don’t put them in the upper tier just yet.

Extra Points is taking the over on Tom Brady and Wes Welker, but going with the under on Randy Moss. NE Patriots Draft finds fault with various Madden ’11 Pats player ratings.

Odds & Sods
. . . an unstructured wandering through the world of . . . .soccer?

On Corner Kicks, Revs midfielder Chris Tierney opines that the U.S. played the most exciting brand of soccer in this World Cup. World Cup Central says that, despite the lack of a deep run by the U.S., soccer is coming up stateside in the short-term.

In the wake of being banned from an upcoming UFC event, Wicked Good Sports finds three other homes for that pestilence of the World Cup, the vuvuzela.

Six States, One Blog has GM Brian Bilello giving Revs fans continued hope for a new urban stadium by naming places.

Have a great and very long Fourth of July weekend and wee’ll see you back here next Thursday afternoon.